Truck Accident Lawyers: Driver Fatigue
The last place you want to meet a truck driver suffering from driver fatigue is on the highway travelling at 65 miles per hour. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are more than 8,000 injury accidents involving large trucks in Florida alone. There are numerous causes for trucking accidents and one of the most prominent is driver fatigue.
Causes of Driver Fatigue
Most over-the-road truck drivers work under very tight deadlines. Trucking companies are in business to get the greatest amount of goods in the shortest time possible to destinations across the United States. Many drivers receive bonuses and other incentives to get their cargoes to their destinations quickly. Since they can only travel around the set speed limits, many drivers make up the time by driving for longer periods of time. The leading causes of fatigue include:
- Tight deadlines
- Pressure from supervisors
- Medical conditions
- Driver inexperience
The turnover rate for over-the-road truckers is often greater than 100 percent, meaning that more drivers leave than are being hired and trained. These new, inexperienced drivers often push themselves beyond their physical limits.
Signs of Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue doesn’t only happen at night, early morning, mid-morning, and mid-afternoon are also times when fatigue can set in. An hour or two after a large meal can affect a driver’s ability to function at a safe level. Some of the signs of fatigue include:
- Excessive yawning
- Heavy eyelids
- Wandering thoughts
- Veering over the center line or shoulder of the road
Truck drivers who experience these symptoms should pull over and rest, or relinquish driving duties to a partner, but many fail to do so, putting other drivers at greater risk.
Combating Driver Fatigue
The Department of Transportation sets down regulations for how long drivers can drive without substantial breaks. Drivers must log the hours carefully or risk fines and revocation of their driver’s license. Trucking companies are responsible for properly training and monitoring driver logs to ensure adequate rest.
Ultimately, the driver is responsible for making sure that they are driving in a safe manner. If they cause an accident due to driver fatigue, they may be held liable for damages suffered by an innocent victim. Trucking companies who push their drivers too hard may also be found liable in some cases.
Determining fault in a truck accident due to driver fatigue is a difficult undertaking. Trucking companies and their insurance companies will spend a lot of money defending their drivers during litigation. If you were injured in a trucking accident near Orlando, please contact a Florida truck accident attorney at Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter to schedule an initial consultation.